Responsive Access, Small Cargo & Affordable Launch
Proposal by 'Destiny Aerospace'
This is an article on "What Almost Was". In late 2001 and early 2002, the F-106 was being seriously looked at as a space launch vehicle.
It started out about 1 Nov 2001 with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) soliciting industry for proposals on building a low cost satellite launcher with off the shelf equipment.
Destiny Aerospace was encouraged by DARPA to submit a proposal utilizing the F-106, which president Tony Materna of Destiny Aerospace did in Feb 2002 [Read the Final Draft of that proposal below]. In March 2002 however, the selection committee at DARPA turned down the F-106 proposal. Alternative methods were investigated through-out 2002 and early 2003 to involve the F-106 with at least the engine mass injection flying phase, which never successfully materialized.
"The water injection theory was actually accomplished in F-106B at Ft. Worth. It reached Mach 2 at a very rapid rate. I had the time difference but I've missed placed it. I didn't know about this until I got involved with this project. I believe the Air Force didn't buy it because of the weight penalty of carrying the water and reduced fuel load. This is only my opinion! Besides the six reached Mach 2 fast enough without the water injection. The project Manager for DARPA was on our side, but the Contract Committee turned us [the proposal] down. I don't believe DARPA ever did pursue with a viable project."...Joe Sylvia - 1 Aug 2013
So, the F-106 RASCAL Program literally never got off the ground after almost two years of investigating ways to involve the F-106, much to the disapointment of the team of scientists and engineers assembled for this project. The small fleet of seven flyable F-106s available at Davis Monthan AFB AZ had been reduced to four flyables when three F-106's were released for museum displays at Castle CA, Hill AFB, UT & Edwards AFB, CA.
"Having been involved with this project from nearly the beginning, I was allowed to construct a website detailing the program and was ready to link it up, pending contract award. Since Destiny Aerospace wasn't selected, we elected to delete the website in March 2002. Now, with the passing of time, we have decided to reconstruct part of the F-106 RASCAL website to let the F-106 community know "What Almost Was."...Erv Smalley - 1 Sept 2003
Provided by Tony Materna, president of Van Nuys CA based Destiny Aerospace
"The key enabling technology that will make suborbital spaceflight possible for the F-106 is the MIPCC (Mass Injection Pre-Compressor Cooling). The aircraft was called the MIPCC Powered Vehicle (MPV). MIPCC involves spraying water just in front of the J-75 engine's compressor blades as the plane approaches Mach 3. This cools the superheated air in the engine inlet, tricking the engine into thinking it is operating at a lower Mach number. It also increases the density of the flow through the engine, as well as its volume. The result is that the engine produces more thrust the faster it goes. Increased thrust levels of 100%, 200% and 300% are possible, depending on the amount of water being used. This technique also allows the J-75 to operate at much higher altitudes than it was designed for."